Nov 17, 2011

Kindle Fire Impressions : Day One

Unboxed my Kindle Fire yesterday and spent the afternoon playing around with my new toy. Here's some early impressions.

  1. Between an Amazon Prime subscription (which I already have) for Video and Books and Pandora for music, I could go probably go months without paying for any actual content. Throw in a Netflix or Hulu+ account and a few cheap eBook deals and I certainly could keep myself entertained for less than $200 bucks a year. I'm one of the million or so that dropped at least part of their Netflix account in the last few months and with the Kindle Fire as a content portal, I might go back.

  2. I don't like the way the Fire organizes user-uploaded videos. Currently, it puts them in the photo gallery . If you're trying to watch a TV season in order, it's tricky to tell which episode is which. Unlike iTunes, there doesn't seem to be anyway to supply this metadata yourself. I also haven't found a way to increase the size of the thumbnails or display the file names or some other method to clean things up.

  3. Speaking of user supplied content, the file system / mini-USB connection leaves a lot to be desired. We've got three computers in the YetiHousehold (2 Win / 1 Mac) and the connection only worked the first time on the Mac. The other two computers couldn't seem to connect with any regularity. The mini USB pin also seems to be slightly defective as it would sometime lose the connection with nothing more than a small movement of the wire.

  4. The built-in store interface is clean but browsing is difficult. One thing that bugs me is the separation of SF and F books. That's like moving Bert and Ernie into a duplex. There might be better ways to sort and browse but if they aren't obvious to the user, that's a failure on the interface design team. 

  5. The app store is very sparse right now. I'm going to assume that will fill up with time but right now, there isn't a whole lot to get excited about. Would love to see some old RPG ports from PS1 or SNES but I don't know if that's realistic. I can only launch so many ornithic missles at porcine targets before I need something new.

  6. Browsing the web on this is fine. I wouldn't do a lot of typing but for basic browsing it works fairly well. I haven't really noticed if and when the Silk functionality come into play, but everything has loaded just fine. Not sure if it takes a little while to get to know my habits or not.

  7. Touch screen responsiveness is the closest I've seen to the iPad / iPod Touch. No complaints on that front, which is one of the places where competing devices fall short most often.

  8. I haven't read anything for any extended period of time but I do like the ability to have a back lit, low brightness screen. Good for reading in bed without disturbing the YetiWife, although I always end up falling asleep while reading before she does.

  9. There is an odd sense of disappointment that comes along with the purchase of any technology centered around content consumption. While you have new ways to interact with your content, at the end of the day, you've got the same content you had before. It's like buying a really nice filing cabinet.

  10. Bottom line: The Amazon Kindle is a near perfect device for content consumption (music, books, video, web browsing). It's lacking as a productivity device but it's not really being sold as such, especially not for $200.

More later, but aside from the USB connectivity I like everything I've seen so far.


  1. Thanks, been debating this or just the Touch. I don't know if my eyes can take anything but eInk for extended periods of time.

  2. Good to know that it seems like a decent device. Personally, I know I won't be getting one, since my current Kindle does just fine for what I need (which is, basically, reading books), and I'm not too keen on watching shows or movies on anything but my TV (maybe my laptop if I have no other option), but it's still nice to know that the Fire looks good for a tablet system. Glad you're enjoying it!

  3. It's interesting that a company that's trying so hard to make it easy to get content from producers to consumers apparently still hasn't grasped the basics of interface design.

    I have about three hundred books on my Kindle 2, and even with their 'collections' feature it's a PITA to sort through, organise, or even check if I own something. I'm disappointed, but not surprised to read that the Fire has similar interface issues. Such a shame - with just a little more thought into the interface, the product family could be amazing.

  4. Ahhh if it only it wasn't US only, much resentment over here in the 'rest of the world'! :(


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